The NFL is taking a page out of the World Cup’s playbook by partially banning any type of headphone other than those made by Bose, an NFL sponsor, from the heads of players at selected times.
The edict applies to most players, who have made Beats by Dre headphones ubiquitous at stadiums and in commercials. The ad featuring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been viewed over 4.5 million times on YouTube, for instance, but now he and others must remove the headphones if TV cameras are around in much the same way as they must not wear apparel made by anyone other than Nike. Players must now listen to their tunes on headphones by Bose, with whom the NFL signed before the season, during TV interviews in training camp or practices and on game day, starting before kickoff and extending through postgame interviews in the locker room or in a media room for up to 90 minutes after games end.
“The NFL has longstanding policies that prohibit branded exposure on-field or during interviews unless authorized by the league. These policies date back to the early 1990s and continue today,” an NFL spokesperson told record.net, which reported the story, in a statement. “They are the NFL’s policies – not one of the league’s sponsors, Bose in this case. Bose is not involved in the enforcement of our policies. This is true for others on-field.”
A spokesperson for Beats, which was purchased by Apple earlier this year for $3 billion, told recode: “Over the last few years athletes have written Beats into their DNA as part of the pre-game ritual. Music can have a significant positive effect on an athlete’s focus and mental preparedness and has become as important to performance as any other piece of equipment.”
Bose and Sony are seeking to cut into Beats’ market share. During World Cup, FIFA, which had an agreement with Sony, banned all participants from wearing Beats during media briefings and on match days. Beats, the NPD Group told recode, has 61 percent of the market, Bose 22 percent and Sony 2 percent.